My husband and I cruised on the Miracle over the Thanksgiving holidays. We have cruised numerous times before on Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We decided to give Carnival a try this time because the ports were interesting and the dates worked for us. It was overall a disappointing experience.
The good things were: Malcolm, the Cruise Director who was the best we have ever had and our room steward, Sri who did an excellent job. These were the bad things: The worst thing was our cabin. We booked a "superior" balcony cabin with the extended balcony on the 8th deck. So far so good - but we were under the outdoor portion of the Lido restaurant and the chairs above us scraped the deck every time someone moved one to sit down or when the staff moved them back into place. This noise went on and on during the day and early morning during breakfast. One night around midnight they were moved around apparently while the deck was being cleaned. It was impossible to sleep in or take a nap midday.
We selected the "Anytime Dining". What a mistake. We were herded in and out and the waiters barely spoke to us. They all seemed in a hurry to get us fed, get us out and turn the table for the next set of diners. It was a really bad experience. It was obvious that the waiters had no incentive to give you exceptional (or even really good) service since they might not see you again. (Tip at the end of the cruise?)
I visited the spa on the last day at sea and took advantage of a bundled set of services. (3 for $109.00) Each service was discounted. All was well until the hairdresser who styled my hair attempted to charge me full price when I was checking out. When I explained to her that her service was part of my package she stood me down and argued with me about it in front of other clients. The Salon Manager eventually stepped in and got it settled in my favor, but the damage was done. It really ruined my spa visit. Overall, there were fewer people to wait on you everywhere on the ship and the level of friendliness and service was below what we are accustomed to. We will not sail on Carnival again.